T680 Adventures and Service - 2022-23
Ockanickon Summer Camp
(July 9 - 15, 2023)
Troop 680 returned again this summer to Ockanickon Scout Reservation in Bucks County, PA. for summer camp. Run by the Washington Crossing Council, Ockanickon offers a variety of Merit Badges and other activities for Scouts and Scouters, including an excellent introductory program (Dan Beard) for new Scouts.
This year started on a wet note with severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall greeting the 18 Scouts and 5 Scouters who arrived at camp on Sunday. The bad weather forced the cancellation of a number of opening day activities and flooded parts of the Troop's campsite at Neshaminy. The Scouts met the challenges head-on and recovered nicely so that by the time the sun came out on Monday (and stayed for the rest of the week), they were ready to enjoy all of the camp offerings. Aside from earning approximately 70 Merit Badges and participating in program activities, many of the T680 Scouts and Mr. Klempner collaborated to complete the Ockanickon scavenger hunt in a camp record time of 11 hours and 59 minutes. The Troop also spent time on Wednesday in a service project spreading mulch at the Neshaminy campsite to improve conditions there. As always, the dining hall provided excellent food and the Troop also got to enjoy some late-night pizza in the campsite on Thursday.
Photos from Ockanickon have been posted in the Trooop photo album on the restricted pages.
Annual Planning Meeting & First Meeting in Northrop Hall
(June 11, 2023)
The Troop held its annual BBQ and planning meeting for the 2023-24 Scouting year on Sunday June 11. At the meeting, the Scouts decided on the monthly themes, campouts, and other activities for the next Scouting year (August 2023 to July 2024) before heading off to camp next month (July 9-15.)
The meeting was also a special one for the Troop because it was the first meeting in our new alternate meeting space, Northrop Hall (named after former ASM, Erik Northrop who graciously donated space above his sheet metal shop to the Troop). Northrop Hall will be used for monthly meetings once or twice a month and whenevr space is unavailable at our regullar meeting space, Good Shepherd Catholic Church, which is undergoing a renovation during the next 18 months. We also hope that using Northrop Hall a few times a month will help families at the northern end of T680's footprint (in the 22306 zip code) from having to drive down to Good Shepherd every week.
Introduction to Leadership Skills Troops (ILST)
(May 20, 2023)
On Saturday, May 20, Troop 680 Scouts participated in the annual ILST training. This training program taught by experienced Scouts is designed to teach leadership skills to Scouts who have recently taken on positions of responsibility (PORs) within the Troop. The program uses a variety of methods to teach leadership skills including game and activities. ILST is the first level of training available to youth and is delivered at the unit level. Council-wide National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) is the next level, followed by National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE), which is a national level leadership course that is usually delivered at either Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico or the Summit in West Virginia. Troop 680 pays teh course registration fees to ensure that its Senior Patrol Leader attends both NYLT and NAYLE.
Introduction to Backpacking 2023
(May 6-7, 2023)
Troop 680 Scouts backpacked along a short section of the Appalachian Trail from Gathland State Park to Weverton Cliffs on May 6-7. The purpose of the trip was to introduce the younger Scouts in the Troop, including the recently crossed-over AOL Scouts, to the joys of backpacking. The idea was proposed by the outgoing SPL, who wanted to teach the younger Scouts about personal responsibility and working together as a team. It was also an opportunity to offer the Scouts a look at backpacking in the hope that some will participate in Backpacking MB in the fall and an eventual Philmont trek when Philmont is an option in the Troop's regular High Adventure program rotation in 2025. The weather for the trip was perfect and the Scouts successfully hiked from Gathland to the Ed Garvey Shelter the first day, where they set up camp, purified water from the spring, cooked dinner, and had a small campfire. The next day, they trekked to Weverton Cliffs to enjoy the spectacular view before coming off the trail and enjoying a non-freeze-dried meal in Harpers Ferry.
Jumpstart Campout 2023
(March 17-19, 2023)
Troop 680 welcomed six new Scouts to the Troop at the annual Jumpstart Campout at Prince William Forest Park the weekend of March 17-19. Five of the new Scouts crossed over to the Troop from Cub Scouts (four from Pack 680 and one from Pack 1076), having earned the Arrow of Light in their respective Packs. The other new Scout joined the Narwhal Blade Patrol, having never previously participated in Scouts BSA. All six boys did a great job at the campout and completed all of the requirements for Scout rank and earned the Totin' Chip. Congratulations also to one of our older Scouts for organizing the campout and putting together the program which was delivered with the help of all of the other Scouts in the Troop who served as instructors Thanks also to our SPL for overseeing everything, helping to teach the new Scout program, and pinch-hitting wherever needed. The three Scout cooks also did a great job and kept everyone fed. Congratulations to everyone who made it through the freezing temperature Saturday night for earning a frost point as well.
Winter Chill Campout 2023
(February 10-12, 2023)
Troop 680 held its annual Winter Chill Campout at the KOA in Harpers Ferry for the second year in a row. In previous years the Troop camped in tents at Big Run State Park in western Maryland, but following the change in venue of the ODD Klondike Derby in 2022 from the KOA to Camp Snyder, the Troop decided to keep its tradition of one cabin campout a year and returned to the KOA. (In December the Scouts had a cold weather campout at Gunpowder Falls in tents.) The campout at the KOA was just as much fun this year as last year. Some Scouts in the Narwhal Blade and Dark Titan Patrols completed Second Class requirements by preparing a cooking fire. The Troop also explored historic Harpers Ferry, enjoyed some of the KOA activities (giant chess board, etc.), and attended mass at St. James. Saturday night also included the traditional campfire movie in the cold weather. Additional photos for parents to download will be posted shortly in the photo album on the restricted pages.
January Court of Honor
(January 8, 2023)
The Troop held its winter Court of Honor on January 8 to recognize those Scouts who advanced in rank, earned Merit Badges, and participated in activities since the Fall Court of Honor on September 11. At the Court of Honor, two Scouts earned the Tenderfoot rank and two earned Second Class. We also acknowledged the two Souts who earned Eagle this fall. They will recieve their Eagle rank at special Eagle Courts of Honor hosted by their respective families. We also recognized Scouts who completed the Cooking and Environmental Science Merit Badges as well as those that earned the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award during our Duty to God month (November). We also thanked the adults and Scouts wo participated in the annual Scouting for Food collection and recognized those who went on the Gunpowder Falls December campout.
December Campout at Gunpowder Falls
(December 9-11, 2022)
The Troop decided to have a pre-Christmas campout the weekend of December 9-11 at Camp Cone inside Gunpowder Falls State Park in Maryland. This was the first time the Troop has been to Camp Cone in more than 15 years and the facility and our site were great. Despite the cold weather and rain shower Sunday morning when we were trying to depart, it was a fantastic campout and Scouts had an opportunity to complete some requirements, review the Outdoor Code, and enjoy some camaraderie around the campfire, which was kept going all day. There were also a lot of jokes and good food, including a new dessert (which was a variation on S'mores). The cold weather also gave the Troop an opportunity to prepare for January and February events.
Scouting for Food
(Nov. 5, 6, and 12, 2022)
On Saturday November 12, 2022, Troop 680 and Pack 680 participated in the annual nationwide Scouting for Food (SFF) collection to help stock area food banks for the upcoming winter season. Twenty-six youth and sixteen adults collected 341 bags of food weighing just under 3,500 lbs. from neighborhoods comprised of 2,600 homes and delivered the food to the United Community food bank. The youth participants included BSA Scouts, AOL Scouts, Webelos, Cub Scouts, siblings, and soon-to-be-joining Scouts. The week before the scouts of Pack 680 and Troop 680 joined forces to place Post-it Note flyers on the doors of the 2,600 homes reminding them of the collection on the 12th. Although the Pack and Troop collected food in the same neighborhoods as last year, this year's collection was donw from our two previous record-breaking years which saw over 500 bags and 5,000 lbs. of food. We'll have to wait until next year to see if we can set a new record.
Calvert Cliffs Campout
(September 16-18, 2022)
Originally planned as a Troop "Gourmet Campout", the Calvert Cliff Campout was changed at the last minute to a Patrol campout for the Dark Titan Patrol when an insufficient number of cooks signed up. Congratulations to the Dark Titan Patrol Leader for taking time to organize a great weekend campout. The Patrol made ground beds to complete a Camping MB requirement, built a shelter, and demonstrated true Patrol spirit by sharing in the meal preparation and cleanup. In the morning on Saturday, the Patrol explored the fossil beach and found several shark's teeth fossils. They also attended mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church on Solomon Island.
Fall Court of Honor
(September 11, 2022)
Troop 680 held its fall Court of Honor (COH) on September 11, 2022, to recognize Scouts who earned new ranks, completed Merit Badges, and participated in various activities since the March COH. Among the rank advancements, Troop 680 had two Scouts earn Tenderfoot and one Scout earn First Class. Since March, 14 Scouts earned a total of 40 Merit Badges, most of them at summer camp at Ockanickon Scout reservation. Also at summer camp, three of the newest Scouts participated in the Dan Beard Program, completing many requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class rank. The COH also recognized the six Scouts and two leaders who went on a Coral Reef Sail at Sea Base earning, among other things, the 50-miler award. Two members of the crew also earned the Triple Crown of High Adventure. Lastly, the COH saw the retirement of the old Troop flag and unfurling of the new one, recognizing our new chartering organization, the Friends of Alexandria Catholic Scouting, Inc.
Assateague Beach Trip
(August 19-21, 2022)
Troop 680 kicked off the 2022-23 scouting year with its annual beach campout at Assateague State Park in Berlin, MD. The weather was fantastic and the water was a refreshing cool temperature which made for a perfect weekend. The Scouts enjoyed a full day of activities at the beach, took care of business at a PLC, the camaraderie of cooking and eating together, and the fun of the evening campfire. In a first, this year, the wild ponies of Assateague did not pay a visit to the campsite. The Troop also said goodbye to its SPL who was attending his last campout before turning 18 and welcomed back a former Eagle Scout on his first trip helping out as an adult leader.